Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition

The Gutiérrez-Magee or Magee-Gutiérrez expedition of 1812–13 was an early filibustering expedition against Spanish Texas. It took place during a time of unrest in Mexico against Spanish rule. In January 1811 Juan Bautista de las Casas led a rebellion movement against the royalists in San Antonio, seizing Spanish Governor Manuel Maria de Salcedo and his military staff. In March, royalists led a counter-attack, captured Casas, and killed him.

In December 1811, José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the rebels to try to get the United States to support their cause. The U.S. officials made vague promises to help, and Gutierrez felt that the U.S. would not stop his expedition against Texas. He went to New Orleans where he met William Shaler who became the main adviser of the expedition. Many men joined their rebel army, including Lieutenant Augustus W. Magee. In August 1812, Magee and 130 men crossed the Sabine River and entered Nacogdoches. More men joined Magee and he marched against Santisima Trinidad de Salcedo. Governor Salcedo set up his forces to protect the Guadalupe River, but Magee changed the direction of his attack and entered La Bahia without opposition. Badly outnumbered, Magee asked to surrender. Salcedo’s offer was not what Magee wanted, so the filibusters decided to fight. Before any real action happened, Magee died. Samuel Kemper became the new leader.

The expedition had its greatest success under Kemper. Salcedo, defeated in two attacks, went back to San Antonio. Kemper moved out with 800 men and defeated a royalist army of 1,200 men in the battle of Rosillo. Salcedo then surrendered San Antonio. Gutierrez, the commander-in-chief of the expedition, took on a greater role and allowed Salcedo and fourteen other royalist officers to be killed. This made many Americans quit the expedition. Kemper did not trust Gutierrez any more, and he led more than 100 Americans back to Louisiana.

Colonel Ignacio Elizondo and General Joaquin de Arredondo were put in charge of recovering Texas for Spain. Elizondo surrounded San Antonio with 900 men. During the battle of the Alazan in June 1813, the rebels beat Elizondo’s troops and went back to San Antonio with many goods. During the battle of Medina, the Spanish royalists defeated the Mexican republicans and filibusters. Most of the survivors went back to Louisiana. The royalists won, but the Gutierrez-Magee expedition caused so much interest in Texas that peace could not be restored.

Source: Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition
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